The 2017 Warwick Rowers’ nude calendar, a project started to combat gender bias in sports, has been banned by Russia for promoting “gay propaganda.”
Six calendars were returned from Russia, with custom officials declaring the publication as “illegal content,” according to Gay Star News.
The calendar, which was launched in 2009, finds the athletes at the University of Warwick in various nude poses as they lounge around together in landscapes across the U.K. and Spain.
All of the proceeds from the calendar go to the U.K. organization Sports Allies, an advocacy group aimed at combating homophobia in team sports.
Angus Malcolm, a producer of the calendar shoot and Sport Allies chairman, believes that Russia’s reaction to the photography speaks volumes to the hatred that exists for the LGBT community.
‘My heart goes out to the rowers’ Russian fans, who are increasingly subjected to acts of hatred and discrimination that shouldn’t be tolerated in any society anywhere across the globe,” Malcolm told The Independent. “The fact Russian customs rejected our calendar is nothing compared to the suffering some LGBT+ people face every day, but it acts as a signifier of the wider problem. If they can’t cope with a few naked bums, then frankly that’s quite sad.”
Malcolm went on to relay how their site was targeted by an IP address in Russia and was hit by a distributed denial of service which sent thousands of visits per second to their website.
This is not the first time that the “gay propaganda” law has affected the LGBT community in Russia. The law has led to many individuals being fined for “promoting homosexuality to children,” and the banning of EA Sports’ FIFA 17 for letting users dress the soccer players in a rainbow uniform.
The nude calendar is available at WarwickRowers.org/.